Guest Post by: Amelia Grant – The Shrub Queen
Temperatures are moderating on the Treasure Coast so I have put my gardening gloves back on. A container garden enthusiast from the get go, I usually change the plantings in my containers twice a year. In this part of the world, now is the time to plant what would be summer herbs and vegetables in most of the rest of the Northern Hemisphere.
Not being a diligent vegetable gardener, the produce here is so great and inexpensive it is difficult for me to spend time dealing with vegetable gardening. While there is nothing like the burst of sunshine in your mouth when you bite into a homegrown tomato, picking the massive tomato hornworm off the tomato vines kind of cancels out the tasting experience in my opinion. As a devoted foodie and home cook, I concentrate on growing herbs. I finally found some Bay Leaf plants online and they arrived this week for their debut in my container garden.
Rosemary is a favorite of mine, so I have three plants, one creeping variety and two upright types. I think the creeping one has a stronger piney flavor and it lasted through the summer in a partial shade location, which is a good recommendation for a plant to grow in this area. The variety of Thyme I prefer for cooking is Lemon so I have two, I think the German varieties last longer here, but for flavor, I plant Lemon Thyme every winter and do with dried when the weather is too hot. Rounding out the herb container garden is Italian Parsley, Sweet Basil, Fernleaf Dill and Bay Leaf. Parsley and Dill are cool season only and will last until May or so. I consider fresh Sweet Basil a necessity of life and buy a new plant to replace a not so fresh one when needed (two or three times annually) For some reason Bay Leaf plants (sometimes called Sweet Bay Laurel) is difficult to buy around here, I had to resort to mail order to find it. I had a Bay Leaf plant for several years, but the tree surgeon smashed it; hopefully the new ones will last in a container garden.
Not all is edible in my container gardens; a little bit of the tropics celebrates our climate – so I use some Bromeliads in my other containers. I enjoy collecting Bromeliads and tend to move them around from the landscape beds to the containers. These are primarily Fireball Neoreglias that I have picked up as cuttings at garage sales – nearly indestructible and they reproduce like mad.
I am just happy to be back in the garden.